It was a pleasure to assist in the judging. Congratulations to Pugpup for winning the contest and congratulations to everyone who managed to avoid getting shamed.
>tfw no second or third place or even honorable mentions
I thought the three best stories got the authors 125 points. I don't remember anything about a trophy.
I believe there is a trophy just for winning any contest.
So long as it was above a certain competitive bar. I haven’t read these entrants but it sounds like this one will qualify.
Did not mention a trophy, though Pugpup will win one (again) for being in first place, yes.
Contest trophy worthy? Should I edit the description of his trophy?
Yep — we can mention both.
I had lots of fun reading all of the stories!
Thanks to everyone for the kind words and well done to everyone who entered! I’m excited to read all the stories
GO AND REST OUR HERO
Good job pugpup. I still havn't finished your story yet. Partly because I keep forgetting there's a save feature for story games, but what I have read has been great.
These were my rankings and comments on each of the Lone Hero stories:
1 - Father Leofwine is Dead. An outstanding story and an engrossing read, with vivid characters and an interesting setting. The character of Wulf, who comes from nowhere and has a background he keeps to himself, fits the "lone hero" theme perfectly. The branching style is mostly Gauntlet in nature, which seems to fit the intricate plot well; rather than leading into different possibilities, the advance-or-die decisions keep the reader (literally) guessing. Perhaps some of the decisions could have been set up better, but overall this was an excellent story. I rated this one an 8/8.
2 - Paper-Mache. This story had an interesting premise and great use of branching. The writer's previous storygames were rated as 3s, but this one should be a solid 5-6. No one branch conveyed the entire story, and so there was little repetition. There were some minor logic issues in the way some branches flowed, and evidence of a lack of self-confidence, but the story found an interesting take on the lone hero theme (the protag is surrounded by living pinatas) and this proved to be an interesting read.
3 - Dusty Fist 2. Very funny story, great use of branching, fits the contest theme well… which is why I'm rating this one higher than Ninja's, even though overall I think Ninja's submission is a stronger storygame. The only things holding it back for me is its shortness; while DF2 will get a lot of plays, there were longer contest entries that involved far greater effort, and I have to recognize that.
4 - Twin Arrows. This will probably be my most controversial ranking. This game was very fun to read, and it was very well written and constructed. In terms of branching, there were lots of quick-death options and only two primary branches, but the tone was light and the style fit the subject matter. Each of the two main branches jumped track in terms of genre. But I'm not sure how much this fits into the "lone hero" theme. In one branch the "hero" is actually pretty hapless and self-serving, and in the other he's never really alone. So while I rated the storygame a 7, I lowered my rating in terms of the contest. Based on the other reviews, Turnip and Gower disagree with me. But to me, the "lone hero" concept just wasn't as strongly featured here as it was in the others.
5 - Dragoon's Charge. This story is potentially a hit for the readers who want a shorter storygame (one without much of a time commitment). Prior knowledge of the practical uses of various nineteenth-century weaponry is helpful. The story is very short and to the point, which makes it perhaps a thrilling diversion but not an immersive read. The protag / lone hero is mysterious by virtue of the fact that no backstory is provided, but the perils are vivid and the heroism is real. Spelling/grammar issues abound, however.
From this point forward, all of the stories are problematic.
6 - Morcant. The story was linear, front-loaded with exposition, and ended in a depressing way. Yes, there is a lone hero front and center in this story, but the primary endings involving either killing a child or condemning the child to a hellish existence.
7 - Apostle. This is an interesting start to what might someday be a good Edutainment story, but there is minimal branching and the story ends before anything happens. Also, it is unclear how the "lone hero" theme comes into play. Presumably, the protag (who sets off from home alone to meet one of the early popes) is "heroic" by risking persecution if his Christian faith is discovered, but the danger in this story is only implied, and not actually encountered. In my opinion, this story does not meet contest guidelines. Still, it is much better than what follows:
8 - Hell is Empty. Basically, this story was too short to be engaging, and the dialog turned out to be lots of misquoted lines from Shakespeare. The protag was capable of some nasty deeds herself, making her less than sympathetic, and the "lone hero" had a distracting way of speaking that made no sense to me. I was not a fan.
9 - The Hanging of Jordan Nickler. The story is unintelligible, although there is an inkling of promise. But more importantly: I could find little evidence of a lone hero theme.
10 - Transient. This was a rushed and sloppy game that at times made no sense, and no idea what genre it was supposed to be.